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Composer Alex Heffes on going solo with Shining Light – Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri 2022-05-06 11:00:05 –

Alex Heffes. // Photo: AnnaMariaFotograf

The composer Alex Heffes is best known for his work with director Kevin Macdonald. The last king of scotland When Touch the void Or Justin Chadwick’s Golden Globe Award-nominated score Mandela: A long way to freedom.

Filmography by a British musician with a career of more than 20 years also includes action and horror, a moving and thrilling score, especially considering his early days as an assistant to composer Simon Boswell. Can be selected.

On Friday, May 6th, SilvaScreen Records will release a collection of Heffes’ iconic themed piano performances from the cinema. Titled Sudden Light and fully performed by Heffes, the album features two ragtime pieces that he wrote for Kevin Wilmott’s The 24th, expanded in a new section for this album.

From his home in Santa Monica, he spoke to Hefs via Zoom about his career as a composer and his new leap into solo work.


pitch: Your career involves working with a great variety of people. Obviously he did a lot of work with Justin Chadwick and Kevin Macdonald, but he also started his career with composer Simon Boswell. This album is very different from what you would expect from someone who has worked with Simon Boswell.

Alex Heffes: know. We made horror movies, made movies with Elton John, and worked with Blur. I was really lucky to be able to work on such a wide range of things. That’s what I like. I am an eclectic person. My background is pretty classic, so I started working on those early ones with that orchestra’s classic background. Then I learned all of those chops from working with the band, as well as Simon and all those people. I think I’m a collaborator. I like collaboration.

I worked with Tim Burton in his movie Sweeney Todd. I arranged some songs, did quite a lot there, and worked with great Sondheim scores. I’ve never been looking for a collaboration. They seem to be coming to me.

It’s a little crazy. I was asked to travel a lot. Kevin Macdonald sent me to Uganda. Last King of Scotland – Go to Africa and record a lot of things. After that, I think people thought I was a true expert in ethnomusicology. I made a lot of movies in Africa, but last year I did something in India –A Ideal Boy With Mira Nair-But it doesn’t seem like I’m a great traveler, but I ended up loading it, and I’m grateful for it.

It’s funny: the opportunity to come your way isn’t necessarily what you make. You are just in ether and you just go for it.

It’s very interesting to hear you say you’re not a great traveler because one of the works we enjoy most is its score. Earth: One wonderful dayLiterally global.

By the way, we actually had an adventure. The BBC of their wisdom sent me to China and recorded the score in Beijing. This was the first big orchestra score everyone actually tried to record in Beijing, as they tend to record everything in very small groups. there.

They had a huge studio. That is, it is large. That’s why I took engineer Andrew Dublin from Abbey Road in London to record. Because they had this huge SSL desk and never turned it all on. They were really great-I’m not going to disband them-but the first thing they wanted to know when we entered the studio was “So how does this mixing desk work? ? ”Because they literally never used 90% of the channels above it.

I had this wonderful experience recording with a symphony orchestra. It was another wild travel adventure. In other words, I can’t complain. I think I really like it, but I’m not one of those with itchy legs who want to go to different countries of the world. I am grateful that people have sent me to these musical missions.

Silcd1686 Saddon Light CoverOne of the most exciting things about your career is that you have taken action. You did a documentary. You did a horror job with Simon Boswell and one of its nature.what Sudden light Such an interesting collection is that it covers a wide range of your career. How did you decide which song you wanted to adapt? Was it the case “I think this fits the piano” or did you want to try to adapt it to the piano?

Originally, it was almost like a therapy session, not as a record. A few years ago he broke his left hand badly and had a metal pin on his finger, cast and couldn’t play the piano for at least a year. It was a good year that I couldn’t use my left hand and never played again. I just wrote it down on the stoic. “It was part of my life when I was able to play the piano.”

It’s not an exaggeration, but one day I realized I hadn’t played for a long time because I couldn’t play the instrument, so I sat down and tried to pick up some of the songs I talked about. Movies, just for fun. When I came back the next day and tried a little more, I couldn’t stretch, so it was a way to think about the music and try to rethink it by what I could do on the piano.

My hands aren’t perfect yet, but they’ve actually started to work much better. I had to adapt my way of playing. A few months later, I realized that exercise was actually returning to much more hands than just physiotherapy, but it’s like the way the project actually started. “Hmm, I haven’t played such an instrument for a long time” “What can I do?” I was the only one sitting.

very. I’ve regained many of the facilities, and to be honest, I thought I would never get one again.

It’s so uplifting!Think about the music above Dazzling light include Earth: One wonderful day,theme of Touch the voidWhen MandelaNot just a couple of ragtime pieces you composed twenty fourthThis definitely feels like a practice that presents what you can do, but what you can do takes on new meaning when you hear the story.

That’s true. When I started it, I realized, “Oh, this could be an interesting project for me and others.” The piano was a chance to really talk to people musically and think that I could really connect with the audience through the piano.

It was a bit of a challenge. It’s like “what can you do with the interesting things in the catalog?”You raised twenty fourth With your fellow Kansan, Kevin Wilmot. He is a great director, writer and kind. I love working on the movie and the characters in the movie were playing the piano, so I wanted to include these two songs.

It is set in World War I, where ragtime has just begun. It’s a very early jazz number. I’m a big fan of jazz, but the early roots of jazz are so interesting that I’m definitely drawn to the work that the character had to write for the movie he was playing.

I thought it was really interesting. Sometimes I write songs in a movie, but what do you think because the movie doesn’t go the way you want because it has to go in a different direction and do something else? It would be really fun to take Marie’s theme and say, “If Marie was sitting in front of the piano, how would her entire work go, not just her first page?”

In my mind, I rerun the movie and say, “OK, Marie: play your song to me.” It turned out to be a little fun challenge. To see where those music can go outside of what was needed in the original movie?

Dazzling light teeth Released via SilvaScreen, known for producing scores for quite a few movies and televisions, including you. It’s like another long-term relationship you have. Did you approach SilvaScreen or did you approach the release of this project?

Well, it’s a movie-related project in the sense that I got the music out of the movie, but it also delivers the music to a wide audience, “You don’t have to. Watch this movie. You You can just listen to the music. “

I talked to several labels, and I measured the temperature of some people. But I have a long-standing relationship with Silva Screen. Great company. They have a very interesting catalog and we did a lot of work together. Talking to David Stone over there, he came up with an idea. He said: This isn’t usually what we do, but yeah, I like it. I loved working with them and I really wanted a partner who wanted to do it, a creative partner, so it was a lot of fun.

It’s another experience. Usually when I play film music, the director comes in and listens to the music and they give feedback, but this is almost the opposite. I was creating something and passed it to SilvaScreen and asked if I could change Part 42. They said, “No, this is great. What can we do to help? What can we do to realize your vision?”

Having a creative partner was great and they were excited to record it at United Studios in Hollywood. It’s a very historic place and it sounds great. It was perfect for me. They wanted to support me to do it with a really great piano.

Steinway is a great partner. When I went to the Steinway’s Artist Room, they showed me 6 or 7 of the best pianos. It’s almost domestic and certainly on the west coast. ?? “

Someone jumped straight out and said, “This is it.” They smiled and Ben from Steinway told me: This is what John Williams uses in all his films.This was the last couple Star Wars movie. John Williams always likes this piano. “

So we are good companions. There is something about it. As soon as I played, I felt like “This is it.”

You played the piano on some of the scores you released, but this is a bit nervous on your side, given that you’re not playing as part of a full orchestra and participating in a movie. was it there? It’s just you, your fingers and a very nice Steinway.

That’s true. It’s a very different experience. Originally it was a little modest, but technically I was nervous because I didn’t have enough one hand. When I first started the project, I thought it would be a concert pianist, but when I talked to my friends and colleagues, they said, “No, I have to do it. We want you to play. I love listening. “

It’s really interesting that the audience connects directly to the composer. As you say, I’m behind the screen writing music, but someone else is playing, so that’s a way to connect to an audience that I usually don’t have. I act a lot, but acting frankly is another experience, and in fact I really like it. This is your chance to poke your head on the chest wall.


Alex Heffes’ Dazzling light It will be released on Silva Screen Records on Friday, May 6th.



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